Everyone has heard the horror story at one time or another. Yes, there are the ones about “Bridezillas” doing every strange and embarrassing thing imaginable at their weddings, but there are also horror stories online about the photos they had taken to celebrate their wedding. The bride and the groom seek out a cheap, seemingly professional photographer, find one at a good price, and then hire their wedding photography services.
The day comes, the photo shoot is less than they hoped for, but they believe that things will turn out for the best. They have reservations but the photographer claimed that they knew what they were doing. The day arrives after the wedding when their photos are ready... and they’re disappointed. The wedding photographer claims it’s their fault for being too demanding and they’ve paid quite a bit for photos they can’t use.
Sound familiar? There has been more than one horror story out there of bad experiences with photographers on that most important day. The question is: how do you ensure that you’re getting a good, and legitimate, wedding photographer? Here are a few tips in finding one:
Did they go to an art school or photography school? This isn’t a must, but it’s a good idea. Are there people out there without a formal education that have fantastic talent? Yes, but it’s always good to know that a person went to school to improve their art.
Do they have a website? This one is a definite must. Every professional photographer needs to have a website. If they don’t, then a potential client should move on to the next candidate. Why? A website doesn’t just promote them, it promotes their brand, shows everyone what they can do, and it has important contact information. Without a website, a photographer is saying that they aren’t serious about their craft and they are saying that they’re too cheap to spend a few dollars a month on having one!
Where are they located? This is information that should be easily accessed from a photographer’s website. This doesn’t seem like something that should be important, but it is an indicator of just what level of professionalism one is dealing with. An address should always be looked up on an online map. At that point, a person can drop down to street level and see what’s there. If they see an office building, they’re dealing with a successful photographer. If, instead, they see a house, a possible client then knows that they are looking at someone running a business out of their home. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but does indicate they’re level of success in the business. If a street-level view results in a view of a parking lot or empty field, then it’s definitely time to move on!
What kind of experience do they have? Everyone wants to give a new person, fresh out of school a chance, but do they really want that first chance to be for their wedding? Any photographer wants to build a portfolio before they go to being commercially available. That does mean more than one free session, but if a client takes someone on without any kind of experience, then they need to be prepared for the possible results.
Ask for their portfolio or view it online. If they have a portfolio of their photos online, then great, but never be afraid to ask for it in person. A good photographer is proud of their work and will usually keep a portfolio on them whenever they’re on the job. Why? Because they know that a prospective client might ask them for it and for people at a wedding, looking for a future photographer, having one on hand is a good way to drum up more business! So, ask for a portfolio. It’s a great way of seeing if they are the right fit for the right wedding.
What is their online reputation? Dig up reviews. See what other people had to say about them on other websites. See if any friends online have dealt with them in the past. What was their experience? Be aware that there are always trolls, but a good reputation online will still shine through despite that.
What is their offline reputation? This one can be a little harder to find, but a person can also just make use of word of mouth. Ask a family member or ask a friend. Many people are surprised to find that just mentioning a service or person to another results in a lot more information than one might have believed.
If a person follows these tips, they will find that they’re probably going to have a good photoshoot at their wedding with even better results that will be treasured forever!